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This chapter is from the book

Defining Your Purpose

Business is all about purpose, and so is social media. Finding your niche is the first step to carving out a large market segment. Understanding your product and how it affects your potential clientele is necessary to accessing all the possibilities of Pinterest.

Not only do images have a strong potential to tell a story, products have the capability as well. The phrase “the product can sell itself” might be cliche, but Pinterest makes it a possibility. Pinterest users that are connected with Etsy—a website where people can buy homemade art—have explored this concept, and have taken full advantage of Pinterest’s social sales model.

Like Etsy, many resorts and hotels have the opportunity to sell themselves by pinning images of their rooms, facilities, and surrounding areas. This method is used often for attracting guests. By pinning and organizing images on your board that correspond directly to your resort, you are able to reach out and grab the attention of an audience that might or might not know about your venue (see Figure 4.4).

Figure 4.4

Figure 4.4. Jetsetter, an online travel resource, inspires its customers with amazing photography, such as this one courtesy of Viceroy Zihvatanejo.

In addition, the social aspect of Pinterest enables users to repin images of hotels, pin their own images to other boards, and write reviews for others to see. This capability brings together all the best features of Tripadvisor.com with that of Facebook. If you have products that can be sold, but are limited by Facebook’s marketplace and Twitter’s lack of striking visuals, Pinterest offers a very happy medium (check out Chapters 5 and 6 for more on how this plays a positive role in social sharing). If you don’t have a sellable product, you need to think of your services in terms of bankability. With Pinterest, your images tell a story. You have an opportunity to share images from a jobsite, a workplace, or a finished version of a service you offer.

Take the time to look at all of your offerings and how these play into your other social media properties. This role, and how you have used it in the past, helps you to move forward with Pinterest. This isn’t to say that Pinterest is for everyone or every company. The key is to think of your offerings in a way that is most attractive to a wider audience.

When Facebook first became a viable source for businesses, many struggled to find a reason to use the network as a functional tool. Business owners uses excuses such as the following:

  • We already have a website.
  • Our customers aren’t using it.
  • There are more profitable ways.
  • It doesn’t fit the goals of our company.
  • We simply do not have the time or resources.

Today, some of these reasons are good reasons and are applicable to not participating in Facebook (or social media as a whole). Many companies still have a negative attitude towards social media. So, trying to convince them that Pinterest is another rung on the social ladder might not be worthwhile.

However, all of these reasons can be met with an equally reasonable rebuttal. A savvy social media executive might say:

  • We have a website, yet social media complements our continued efforts.
  • Our current customers might not use social media, but we can attract new customers.
  • There might be more profitable ways, but social media’s cost is extremely low.
  • Everyone uses social media. We need to connect with our customers as much as possible, and social media is another opportunity.
  • The company might have more pressing matters to attend to, but that doesn’t mean we should write social media off completely. We can set up a Pinterest account in minutes, pin images throughout the month, and avoid significant time loss.

Nonetheless, some simple facts about social media (and Pinterest in general) remain. If you are in business, it is for the purpose of advancing a service or product. Whether you are a for-profit industry, or a non-for-profit organization, advancing your service or product comes at a price.

In lieu of this, social media shortens the gap between your audience and your business:

  • Meet your peers
  • Find business contacts
  • Build relationships
  • Raise visibility
  • Get rapid top Google placement
  • No cost marketing

Pinterest and social media aren’t catch-all solutions for every business problem, but almost every business can find a way to implement social media and find its spot in the “zoo.”

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